To Apply or Not To Apply
It’s not always easy to figure out what to do. First of all, you must stop assuming that companies only select candidates who fulfill 100% of the job requirements. Job descriptions are often crafted in such a way to weed out people who are inappropriate for that position. However, rarely do we find people in and around our professional circle who exactly match, word for word, every criterion that is listed in their job description.
Therefore, it may be premature to rule yourself out if you do not fulfill a couple of the requirements. The best approach would be to first reflect on just how under-qualified you are. If a job is a huge jump on your current experience or qualifications, say it requires ten years of experience and you have two, your efforts may be better spent on jobs that are a closer fit.
There is, of course, a difference between being UNDERqualified and UNqualified that should always be kept in mind. Continue reading to learn strategies jobseekers can use to make up for their lack of qualifications.
Highlight Your Strengths
If you do not have everything the employer wants, whatever you offer should be the best the employer can get. Show the employer how your strengths are far more valuable for the job than what you lack. Make sure your case is backed by credible examples. The employer is not interested in vague statements about your how strong your skills are. He has probably heard far too many of them. It’s the evidence that matters.
Showing how your strengths will be useful to a prospective employer may require you to be creative. For example, consider preparing a short PowerPoint presentation or document outlining the challenges of the role and how you would tackle them with your experience and expertise. This not only demonstrates that you’ve successfully applied those particular skills in the past and are equipped to do so again in the future, but also highlights your thinking and communication abilities.
Sell Your Soft Skills
You may not be technically as sound as the job demands, but chances are you possess a specific skill set that includes abilities needed for a wide range of jobs. Communication, teamwork, leadership, and time management are some of the soft skills that are universally sought. If you could demonstrate to potential employers that you have excellent soft skills which would be useful in the job you are pursuing, it will certainly make the employer more comfortable with the idea of hiring you, despite your shortcomings.
Exhibit a Willingness to Learn
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes during the hiring process. Employers often keep an eye for candidates who may be less qualified but are trainable. There are even times when such applicants are favored over a perfect match for cost reasons. If you’re unable to convince an employer that you already posssess the needed skills, at least make a case for being trainable.
Your resume should show your enthusiasm and willingness to stretch yourself on-the-job, and to adopt latest industry knowledge and trends. If there is a particular certification required or desired for the job to which you are applying, state your commitment to pursuing it. If you’ve already registered for the relevant training, it will lend credibility to your claims. Provide examples from the past to show your openness to learning, and your ability to do so quickly.
Sometimes an honest commitment is all it takes to convince an employer to hire you. Make it clear you fully intend to make up for what you may be lacking by taking steps to improve yourself in those areas, and by leveraging your existing strengths for the employer’s benefit. Provide examples that show you really are a self-motivated person. This quality is a soft skill that all employers value.
Exploit the Power of Your Network
Finally, there is nothing better than having a connection who can make a personal introduction to someone in the organization where you seek employment. If there is no such person in your network, it’s time you start exploring LinkedIn and Twitter for profiles that can prove useful to your job search. Another approach is to attend events where professionals from that organization will also be participating. Introduce yourself and start building a relationship.
Next time you come across a job that seems out of reach, don’t automatically take yourself out of the game. Instead, think through how the suggestions offered here might favorably influence the employer’s perception of what you can bring to the organization.
About the Author
Saurabh Tyagi is a writer, social media enthusiast and a keen observer of latest job trends. He is currently associated with Naukri.com, a leading online recruitment company in India. When he is not writing, you will find him brushing his knowledge about the latest jobs and digital marketing news. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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